Dads Programme a success, sets up second session to start next month

“I have a role to play, both mums and dads have things to contribute and both parents are important,” says one of the participating dads

Nelson Tasman’s first course to help dads learn parenting and relationship skills finished its run and was an overwhelming success, receiving an overall rating of 9.6 out of 10 from participants. The next programme is already filling up, says RISE Clinician Aaron Agnew.

The Dads Programme is a 10-week course facilitated by RISE (formerly SVS – Living Safe) and Perinatal Support Nelson. The first course started in March and put the focus on new and existing dads as they navigate their way through a new life role.

Aaron Agnew, who is also a co-facilitator, says he knew the programme was a success when all participants told him they wanted the course to be longer.

“Dads who participated rated their confidence levels at the beginning and the end of the course. By the end, their confidence scores collectively were 150 percent of what they were at the beginning. This alone is a success, but we were further excited to read in the course surveys that many wanted the course to be longer, 12 to 15 weeks in fact.  

“We are on a good thing with the dads learning a lot and wanting more. We believe in this course and the impact it’s going to have for our dads and our communities.”

Perinatal Support Nelson’s Helen Williams was co-facilitator of the programme. She says the predominant experience of the dads was that the birth was difficult and they felt unprepared for how it would affect them.  

“During the birth and in the early months after, these dads often felt side-lined. They wanted to support their partners but were often unsure of the best way to do this. I was really glad to have this insight from them and I shared my perspective as a mum and feedback from the 'mum' group'. The dads also felt able to ask me questions".  

“Everyone learned from this first programme – the dads, Aaron and me. With our understanding from this group, Aaron and I can go forward into the next one with good feedback and a positive experience.”

Aaron says the dads would like to have monthly online check-ins to keep in touch with facilitators and each other. Also, Perinatal Support Nelson offered three free sessions of individual counselling to dads who attend the programme.  

Because the programme was such a success, RISE is already taking names for the next Dads Programme, scheduled to start on 3 August. Aaron plans to incorporate some of the suggested topics from this first programme.

“The popular topics included brain development, stress, parenting styles, lifestyle, and wellbeing. We’re going to make sure we continue with these topics into the second programme. There will also be lots of time for discussion because participants really enjoyed the openness and time to bounce ideas between the group members.”

To enquire about participation in one of the Dads Programmes, or more information, email RISE on admin@rise.net.nz or ring 03 548 3850.



Aaron Agnew, 03 548 3850, aaron@rise.net.nz 

RISE delivers services into Nelson, Motueka, Golden Bay, Marlborough, Kaikoura, and the West Coast.
Please contact our Nelson office for information.

Nelson Office

Level 3, 295 Trafalgar Street

Phone: 03 548 3850

Txt: 027 548 3850


Motueka Office

15b Courtney Street

(site of Jack Inglis Care Home)

Phone: 03 528 8976